Friday, February 04, 2011

Upon This Your Confession

The absolution spoken on Sunday morning after the general confession sometimes begins: "Upon this your confession, I by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God to all of you, ..."

Too often we think that that means God is forgiving us because we confess. We think our confession is what triggers His forgiveness.

Uh,... there'd be a theological problem with that, don't you suppose?

Maybe, instead, the pastor says "upon this your confession" not as a cause for the absolution, but as the occasion upon which the absolution is spoken. The absolution is valid because of Jesus' death on the cross, but when we confess our sin, we need to hear (again and again and again) the absolution. Nevertheless, the sinful nature prefers to twist those weekly words ("upon this your confession") into something that gives us at least a little credit before God for believing in Him.

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